Before the question comes

I love meeting new people. LOVE it. I love learning where they’re from, I love learning what kind of talents they have. I love learning what they’re passionate about, what makes them cry, what gives them energy- I just love learning people. But there’s one thing I hate about meeting new people. The one dreaded question that everyone asks.

“So, what do you do?”

As if that defines them.

I’ve come to realize that this question is a quick defining tool when you’re getting to know them. “Oh, you work at the bank?” (she must be rich) “Oh, you’re a missionary?” (she thinks she knows it all..) “Oh, you work in a greenhouse?” (they must not have gone to college) Oh, you own your own business? ( wow, they must be determined.) I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

One thing this question doesn’t do is tell you about who they are as a person. Are they kind? Does their heart reflect Christ? Do they spend time with the ones they love? What is the heart behind what they do? I so deeply wish this question wasn’t so important to us. Yes, I understand that it’s a “get to know you” question, but why not switch it up? Why not ask “So, what makes you, you?” instead of “What do you do?”

I’m not trying to come across as angry or upset, just more so concerned about how we plop people into status bubbles based on their occupation. Does it matter if someone is a teacher, rather than a politician? Or a mum rather than a pastor? Does it matter if someone works a minimum wage job, or they make the top ranking salary? Today Jesus over took me with His love. He showed me just how deep His love for me goes. He whispered love into my heart and reminded me again of how much He cares about me, how often He thinks about me. He just came and sat beside me in the middle of my struggle. He was caring. He was gentle. He didn’t rush me or expect a certain response from Him. He was just there.

And Jesus was a carpenter.

I want to challenge you (but don’t I always, fellow reader?) Before you ask someone what they do, work at understanding who they are. When you know who a person is, you’ll come to realize that their job doesn’t define them. The salary doesn’t define them. The success of their business doesn’t tell the whole story. Let’s work at breaking down social statuses, and work more towards developing character- of love, of justice, of respect and of courage. Let’s learn from Jesus and look beyond the tax collector status and see the heart that beats wild inside.

So yeah. I’m a missionary. But what makes me, me? My sass, which I have to keep in check. My heart, my wisdom, my love of words and letters and anything extravagant. My deep, overwhelming love for a Saviour I cannot see, and don’t always “feel”, but know, without a shadow of a doubt, that He’s here. Always. My family has formed and shaped me, but yet doesn’t define me. My love for life, for freedom, for justice and for peace. These things make me, me. And if you roll that all together in some sort of personality test and figure out what occupation best suits me, please, let me know. Until then I will continue where I am, loving the people He blesses me with, and dreaming alongside Him as He walks me through each day.

Much, much love.

Mile 88- Feb. 2013

Photo credit to the beautiful Sarah Griffith

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

 

 

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Dare to dream BIG

This week was a whole lot of everything. It was busy, it was blessed, it was overwhelming. It had a new schedule, it got me thinking about the April school a lot. I, sadly, only got to be in lectures with the beautiful Layne Grime for one full day, but God lined it up so that I was in for just the right one.

Dream list

You and I know, to varying degrees, how much we are loved. Even if people don’t vocalize it enough, you can feel it and you can read it in His letters that we are loved unconditionally. When that realization sinks deep in your heart, just like with a person, you want to honour that love. I want to honour His love. I want everything I do to reflect His glory, I want to lift Him high, put Him on the throne that belongs to Him. I want to dream big, because with Him all things are possible. This is my list of dreams, things I so dearly wish to accomplish. The closer I’m getting to Him, the more the desires of my heart look like the desires of His heart. What a beautiful reality. So here they are, in no particular order.

Own my own studio

Run a successful photography business

Be a stay at home mum

Go parasailing

Study the Bible in depth (get confused and in awe over and over again)

Have 10,000 comments on this blog. (*yes, dream big*)

Raise children that reflect the Son

Adopt

Own a house somewhere

Run women’s ministry from my living room couch

Own a 50mm 1.2 lens

Spend at least 2 weeks a year in Africa

Never lose my wanderlust for this world

Be married to one man for one lifetime

Live in Holland. Even if only for 2 weeks.

Walk the streets that Jesus walked

Float in a hot air balloon

Love so much it hurts

Write a book

Backpack through Europe

Change someone’s life

Sleep on the beach under the stars

Be in Thailand for the lantern festival

Make photos and videos that challenge and encourage people

Be brutally honest with overwhelming love

Journal. Forever. And then pass them off to my grandchildren

Climb a mountain with my mum

So there it is, my heart laid bare. Whether or not all of these things get accomplished doesn’t matter, the point is we need to dream big. It makes me sad when people sell themselves short, when they don’t dream big and let God prove how majestic He is. He has so generously given us this lifetime, and each and every day I am reminded that there is no guarantees. Not everyone gets 80 years. Some barely get 20, so how are you going to use those days? I dare you to dream big. I dare you to set your sights higher than you can reach- write down something impossible, and see what God does with it. He is SO faithful, all the time, it’s in His nature. “For if we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.” 2 Timothy 2:13

Dream big.

I dare you.

Old Airport beach, Kona, Hawaii

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Breakdown

OUR

 

That word takes you and me and it smashes us together in just three letters. It takes you out of your journey, and me out of mine, and it puts us on the same path.

OUR FATHER.

No longer am I praying on my behalf, but on yours as well. No longer am I just thinking of the way I view God, but also how you view God. I don’t recall this ever being explained to me in a way I understood before. It’s very simple, maybe so simple everyone just assumed I knew the complexity of it. He’s our Father, but just the word, the way the prayer is started, suggests that we pray it together.

The title is breakdown, not because that’s the state of my being, but because I want to break the Lord’s Prayer down. For you and for me, to meditate on the words we so quickly ramble off.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. STOP. 

What is hallowed? To make holy, set apart as sacred. God’s name is holy, it’s set apart. Do I treat it that way in my daily life? Do I even think about that when I hear others throw it around as an exclamation of surprise?

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. STOP. 

I ask Him to have His way, for HIS will to be done. But wait- what if His will is different then mine? (Newsflash Sam, it probably is: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord, and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8) So God- have your way. I back down, I’m giving you room to do what you need to do (as if He needed my permission..)

On earth as it is in heaven. STOP.

I think I dwell on this line the most. It’s easy to get caught up in the pain of this world. Out here in this school we keep ripping open the wound in our hearts, injustice after injustice. When you think you’ve seen the last statistic on pornography, the last story on gendercide, watched the last documentary about children sold into slavery, you have another story, another face, another lost heart. God- if what it takes to have heaven on earth is for you to have your way- TAKE IT. I give all of this up, the good and the bad, to have what you have for us in heaven.

Give US this day our daily bread. STOP.

First off- us. Jesus encouraged them to come together in prayer to ask God for their daily provision.Second, how many times have you gathered with others to ask God for your daily needs? Me- maybe once, in Papua New Guinea when we needed a village to stay at. And I can assure you there was a certain level of urgency in that prayer. We had nothing, we were fully relying on God to provide, and of course He did.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. STOP.

What if God forgave you the way you forgave others? Is there someone on your heart who hurt you? That one person who hurt you deeply, who you just can’t seem to forgive? What if He forgave the same way we did, in a kinda-sorta-halfway-almost completely forgiven way? Thankfully He is bigger than that. The moment we ask, He wipes it clean. A clean slate. So is Jesus asking us to do something impossible here? No. Jesus doesn’t put something in front of us that we cannot handle. Is it difficult? Absolutely. Impossible? Never, for “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. STOP.

How many times have you prayed this: lead us not into temptation, all the while knowing the temptation you struggle with is waiting for you as soon as you say “amen”? Knowing it, and not giving it up to God? Have you prayed this with the intention of still returning to that which turns you from Jesus? That gossip, the words that pierce hearts instead of build them up. The actions that bring you shame but you “just can’t seem to shake”. See ,the thing is, we love sin. If we didn’t, we would run from it all the time. Before you ask God not to lead you into it, which He would never do, check yourself and see where you are leading yourself into it.

For YOURS is the kingdom and the glory and the power forever. Amen. 

Again, this is a repeat of before, but really- it’s all about God. Its HIS kingdom, HIS glory and HIS power. He lends us His power to live for Him, but how easy is it to steal His glory too? How easy is it to make life more about this kingdom than the next?

 

I’m reminded of a worship song I sang a few years back, where one line goes “I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it, when it’s all about you, it’s all about you Jesus.” And it’s true, it’s too easy for us to make it about the lofty beautiful words we say, about the amount of people listening, about the intensity of our voices, but really, it’s all just about Jesus. He wants us to meet together before Him and rest. I encourage you today to go find someone, even if just one person, and pray together. Thank God for who He is, what He has brought you through. Thank Him for His plans that He has for you, for the victory He’s already won for you. Thank Him for carrying a burden too heavy for you, and for giving you all you need to walk in His power. Be broken before Him, before another person, and experience the beauty and freedom that comes from being raw with one another.

Much love,

Me in missions

 

With Strength that is not my own, Sam